The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has announced the list of Top 25 cities in the first season of India Cycles4Change Challenge.
Over 100 cities participated in the India Cycles4Change Challenge which was launched on 25th June 2020. Of which, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Kohima, Nagpur, New Town Kolkata, Pimpri Chinchwad, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara and Warangal are stage 1 awardees. While Aurangabad, Gurugram, Jabalpur, Silvassa have earned a special mention by the jury.
The jury encompasses representation from esteemed entities such as the Ducth Cycling Embassy, CEPT University, ITDP, National Institute of Urban Affairs and Professional Consultants.
Davanagere, Hyderabad, Indore, Kakinada, Kochi, Nashik, New Delhi, Panaji, Sagar and Udaipur are the other cities that complete the list of top 25.
These top cities that move ahead in the second phase will get a grant from the Smart Cities Mission, Government of India. A panel of International and Indian experts groups will extend technical advisory and communication support to the winning cities.
“The India Cycles4Change Challenge has not just transformed cities for cycling, but helped create a community of champions for cycling in cities across the country. I’ve also started cycling to work and witnessed the change first-hand. We look forward to supporting the cities in becoming cycling capitals of the world”. – Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary and Mission Director, Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said in a statement.
The India Cycles4Change Challenge is an initiative of the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India to inspire and support Indian cities to implement quick cycling-friendly initiatives in response to COVID-19.
Institute of Transport and Development (ITDP), the challenge coordinators are closely involved in this revolutionary Pan-India project. The Surge in cycling triggered a boost in ridership and cycle sales around the globe – including India; compelling governments to react with prudence and sustain the spike.
A total of 107 cities signed-up and got involved and adopted a new mantra of engaging with citizens and testing innovative, inexpensive, and quick ideas to remove barriers to cycling. The shortlisted cities get an opportunity to scale-up their plans in the next stage.
Cities have identified 400+ kms of main roads and over 3500+ kms of neighborhoods streets for transformation, which are being transformed to be safe and fun for cycling.
Local Community Organizations and NGO’s are closely engaged in implementing the program that includes measures such as building temporary pop-up cycle lanes, conducting market surveys, cycle repair clinics, indulging in dialogue with local communities, critical mass events etc.
Shreya Gadepalli, South Asia Programme Lead, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy said “Create streets for cycling and cyclists will come. We saw clear signs of this in cities across India in the past year. But this is just the beginning. Cities must now scale up these interventions to make cycling safe and fun for everyone”.
Making cycling safe and fun has far-reaching implications in shaping the socio-cultural fabric of our society. Therefore, building widespread support on the COVID-19 led momentum is extremely essential for the success of the program. Getting women to cycle, improving accessibility, making streets safer for vulnerable groups such as the physically challenged and children are some of the critical pillars of creating a good cycling city.
“Cycling regularly can significantly improve the wellbeing of citizens, and reduce the risk of many serious conditions, like heart and lung disease. Creating healthy cities safe for cycling can go a long way towards improving public health”. – Ekta Vishnoi, Mission Director, FIT INDIA Mission commented.
In the next stage, the Top 25 cities will be involved in scaling-up their efforts with a long-term vision of building ‘Healthy Streets’ which implies integrating walking, cycling, and public transport to make streets safe and convenient for all.
Some of the key foreseeable measures are – adopting a healthy-street policy, establishing cycling departments, developing scale-up plans, managing on-street parking, and increasing community support, amongst others.
Top photo credit: Symbalian Cycling Community, Ahmedabad.
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai